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What Will I Learn in an MS in Special Education Program?

According to the Council for Exceptional Children, “Special education is an integral part of the total educational enterprise, not a separate order. In any school system, special education is a means of enlarging the capacity of the system to serve the educational needs of all children.”

Educators who want to enhance the lives and abilities of exceptional students can earn an online Master of Science in Special Education with a Concentration in Effective Instruction and Assessment for Students with Suspected and Identified Disabilities from the University of Southern Maine (USM).

Graduates of this program will be prepared to effectively apply theory to practice. Students will learn ways to implement specialized teaching, build effective curricula and collaborate with other professionals. The program is designed to equip you with the skills, knowledge and competencies required to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Techniques to create safe, inclusive, culturally responsive learning environments are also covered.

USM MS in Special Education Online Program Courses

Graduates of this program will complete a total of 10 courses covering a variety of topics. Behavioral Principles to Analyze Learning, Teaching, and Assessment, for example, introduces the principles of teaching and learning that have been effective in improving student success in academics, behavior and social skills.

Students will also learn about special education regulations, procedures and the Individualized Education Program (IEP); positive behavior intervention and support; selecting, administering, scoring and interpreting measures of academic achievement; and targeted and individualized instructional strategies for students with disabilities.

Students will complete a course focused on advanced response to intervention instruction and assessment for reading and a similar course for mathematics. Two additional courses are devoted to technology for communicating and learning, and research methods and techniques. The program concludes with a special education research capstone. This is a project that the student prepares in conjunction with the instructor.

This MS – Special Education program also opens up career opportunities outside of K-12 special education. You can work as a behavior intervention specialist, become an instructional coordinator developing IEPs, work with state agencies, or provide clinical services.

When you are equipped with a master’s degree in special education, you will have what it takes to make a difference in the lives of exceptional children, whichever career path you choose. Students with learning disabilities can gain self-confidence from participating in special education programs, helping decrease depression, anxiety, anger, and frustration for them. Providing effective special education improves the students’ chance of success and helps them pursue and achieve personal goals. Improving the educational experience of a special needs child has the ripple effect of benefiting the child’s family and community as well.

This 30 credit-hour program from USM is 100% online and can be completed in as few as 12 months.

Learn more about the USM Master of Science in Special Education with a Concentration in Effective Instruction and Assessment for Students with Suspected and Identified Disabilities online program.

Sources:Council for Exceptional Children: Special Education in the Schools

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